Understanding Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Delinquency: The Research

Results from examination of the four research investigations indicate that despite difference in geographic region, time period, youths’ ages, definition of child maltreatment, and assessment technique, evidence exists to show a connection between child maltreatment and subsequent crime and delinquency. The findings also show that even though there is a connection between child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency, the relationship is not inevitable. In addition, the findings indicate that children who experience violence in childhood are at an increased risk to become perpetrators of violence later in life. These children are also at an increased risk for mental health problems, suicide attempts, greater alcohol problems in women, lower rates of employment, and decreased levels of cognitive and intellectual functioning. The author examined four investigation conducted in different parts of the United States that documented a relationship between childhood victimization and juvenile delinquency. The four geographic areas examined in the studies were the Midwest, Rochester, NY, Mecklenburg, NC, and the Northwest region. Implications for those working with children suffering from maltreatment and violent victimization are discussed.

Publication Date

July 2005

Publication Name

Child Welfare League of America

Violence type

Cathy Spatz Widom